Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thirteen Encouraging Quotes for Writers Striving to Become Authors

During these two weeks, we at the diner have been speaking about books that can’t be read and I’ve been thinking about another dimension -- books left unwritten and dreams cut short. Speaking of dreams. …

My friend and I joined Romance Writers of America around the same time. We met in a writer’s workshop and quickly became e-mail writing partners. I envied her crisp, clear prose, her witty dialogue, and the sheer speed she turned out words, paragraphs, pages and manuscripts. But there were negatives, too. She wrote in spurts and was often disheartened. During her bouts with discouragement, her e-mails lessened. And so did mine. Finally our e-mails stopped completely.
Both of us were busy with life and other non-writing activities. She told me: “I’ll e-mail when I’ve written something worth critiquing.”

Weeks and then months slipped by. Summer came and went. At the Romance Writer’s meeting, she was a no-show.

I e-mailed, passing along the meeting’s news and gossip. I asked why she missed the meeting.

“I’ve quit writing,” she answered. “It’s just too hard.”

“What?” I responded. “You’re an outstanding writer. You can’t quit.”

We argued a while before I switched to, “You have to do what’s right for you, but let’s not lose touch. E-mail me from time to time and let me know what you’re up to.”

I hope she decides to give writing a second try. A writing instructor I had in college says my friend is typical of many beginning writers. “Most people quit,” she told the class. “And that includes the talented as well as the mid-range folks.”

Lots of books that might be big sellers are never born because their creators give up prematurely. To combat this trend and to share some grins, I’ve compiled 13 encouraging quotes.

Thirteen Encouraging Quotes for Writers

1.) “Diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs.” Malcolm Forbes

2.) “It’s always too early to quit.” Norman Vincent Peale

3.) “When I’m writing, I know I’m doing the thing I was born to do.” Anne Sexton

4.) “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle

5.) Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” William Feather

6.) “A year from now you’ll wish you started today.” Karen Lamb

7.) “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” Anais Nin

8.) “It is by sitting down to write every morning that one becomes a writer.” Gerald Beran

9.) “I write to discover what I think.” Joan Didion

10.) “Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public.” Winston Churchill

11.) “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” Calvin Coolidge

12.) “Writing has made me rich—not in money but in a couple hundred characters out there, whose pursuits and anguish and triumphs I’ve shared. I am unspeakably grateful at the life I have come to lead.” Wright Morris

13.) “If we have to say what writing is, we would define it essentially as an act of courage.” Cynthia Ozick

If you like these quotes or you’re feeling down about your writing, I have three suggestions.

*Check out “The Courage to Write” by Ralph Keyes; *Share something, a quote, a site or a book that has lifted your spirits.


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  1. That's an interesting list - far more useful than a lot of those "how to" books. Thanks for the visit.

  2. Great list! I need to paste a few of those around my monitor to keep me going when I have one of those I'm-a-horrible-writer-why-would-anyone-read-this-crap mood swings.

  3. Oh, I love these! Particularly the one about writing being an act of courage. It is that, on a lot of levels. How about this one: "A writer must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid." -William Faulkner

  4. What a great idea for a post. I especially love the first one (mmmm diamonds)

    Whenever I feel like just throwing my hands in the air and saying, "the hell with it!" I always remember a fortune I found in a fortune cookie:
    "The only time you ever truly fail is when you give up."

    Makes ya think, doesn't it? :)


  5. Great quotes!! I love #6.

  6. It's funny that you should mention writing something and then never going anywhere with it. I started a blog just so that I could get a story I wrote in high school out somewhere. I don't know that it's all that good or interesting, but I wanted to see if anyone found at least the storyline to be interesting.

    In any case, thanks for the quotes, and happy TT!

  7. Great list! I'm an aspiring novelist and will keep those in mind!

  8. That's a great list of very inspiring quotes. Writers have it tough, since they've got to motivate THEMSELVES. I will send these to my writing spouse...

  9. Great list! I just finished Anne Lamott's Blue Shoe, after reading her Bird by Bird on writing. I'm not a writer (except of my blog!), but I definitely appreciated her take on the discipline, zest for life, and dedication it takes to be one.
    Happy TT!

  10. i love your first quote about diamonds

  11. Those are great quotes, even for us non-writers.

    Great post!

  12. Oh wow, I'm sooo glad I found you. Number seven by Winston Churchill hit me that hardest, but they are all great. So what do you write? I really needed this and appreciate the link you added at the bottom for encouraging writers. Where do attend RWA meetings? I am in Indianapolis and my crit partner and I go through similar phases on both sides.

  13. Gotta love those inspirational quotes! Great post.

  14. I like those quotes, they are very inspirational. My favorite is #7.

  15. Excellent quotes!! I am a quote person myself so I happen to love some of those you have listed!

    Happy TT!

  16. Call me impressed-Brenda you are making this Thursday 13 an art form!

  17. I love #6, never heard it before. #10 is one I always remember when I'm staring at a blank shhet of paper and the ideas won't come.

  18. Kendra and Maggie, thanks for sharing a quote!

    minthegap and believer in balance-keep plugging away on your story and consider Nanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month which is coming up in November!

  19. michelle davis petelinz,
    I've read "Bird by Bird," but will look for "Blue Shoe." Thanks.

  20. Dear God, your post inspired me so much. I guess I could call myself a beginning writer...My problem is that I write, erase what I've written, then write again, because I always think what I've written could become a lot better. Today however, I looked at my 200-page-to-be novella, sighed, and decided to go back to living a normal life. But with me, there's always a voice that says: Go look up some quotes about this subject. Your post was the first on the list, and as soon as I read about your friend, what your teacher said, and the quotes, I decided I wasn't going to give up this time. Not on writing, maybe I'll give up on other things, but definitely not on writing.
    "When I’m writing, I know I’m doing the thing I was born to do."
    I think that's about the best quote I've read anywhere.
    again: THANK YOU!

  21. Hi admin,
    your post "encouraging Quotes" is very special for us.I think encouraging quotes are very special for everyday life. I have collected many quotes from you, and I will come back soon. It's encourage to work everyday life.So thanks a lot for doing this job